Earnings season is off and running, and so far investors like what they see. Alcoa (NYSE:AA) reported earnings that met expectations last night and said that aluminum demand would rise 7% in 2013 compared with 6% in 2012, a sign of hope for the global economy. Investors have responded by moving the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) 0.36% higher near the end of the session, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is up 0.16%.
Two embattled companies are leading the Dow higher today, with Boeing up 3.3% and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) gaining 2.4%. Boeing's shares jumped after management came out and said it had "extreme confidence" in the 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft have experienced a fire and a fuel leak in separate incidents in the last two days, and investors sold off the stock. For now, fear about quality issues is yesterday's news, but the stock could easily drop if problems persist.
HP is the second-biggest gainer on the Dow. Although the International Consumer Electronics Show is taking place in Las Vegas right now, it doesn't appear the company will introduce anything earth-shattering. HP has become one of those volatile Dow stocks that jump higher than others on positive days, so I wouldn't read too much into today's performance.
While most of the Dow is up today, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is down 5.3% after its stock was downgraded by Credit Suisse. The analysts think the stock has run too far, too fast and that the fundamental valuation of the company hasn't yet caught up to the stock.